Wednesday, 28 September 2011


Well this last weekend was a complete write-off, everybody was sick ( apart front he eldest boy, he never gets sick much!) Just when I thought all was better and could get on with doing my Pinterest crafting the baby was sick again! So didn't get it done last night either.  Soooo much washing to do.  I'm glad the weather has got warmer at least I can get the bedding dry!

Anyway,  I had to take the day off work today, but hey, kids come first!  So finally he slept this afternoon and apart from housework I managed to get a little crafting done, yippee.  SInce buying a new computer during the summer I haven't touched my poor sewing machine, preferring to crochet instead.  So I turned the monitor off and moved it aside to get the old girl whizzing again.  For a moment I thought I'd forgot how to use her! See what I made :)

Ok, Ok, so the pics are a little iffy (hubby would be embarrassed if he saw them! tut!) but I was rushing, he was stirring!
I got the idea from these on my Pinterest board.

                                                                           Source: via Lucy on Pinterest

They are from thespiltstich.  if you've never been to her site you must, there are lots of great ideas on quilting and embroidery. Not to mention the cute baby projects.  I am sure that there was a tutorial of hers that I read, yes found it here! 
Shame I didn't look at it before hand as I know for a fact that my coasters are a tad small. You need to have a good seam allowance so that when you turn it the right side out your opening can actually be tucked under and then pressed!  I also used felt for the back instead. With the liner it makes it a bit bulky.  Anyone else rush into thinking they know what they are doing!
Also my take on the 'sketchy look' for top stitching is a bit sketchy to say the least. I will try random lines across next time ;)

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Friday night toast!

Ok so I really have cheated here! Busy week so I can be forgiven.  There is not really a recipe, more of a selection of foods!

Smoked mackerel on ciabbata, with water cress salad.

Toast the ciabatta with a drizzle of olive oil and place the smoked mackerel on top.  Drizzle with lemon juice and serve with watercress and rocket leaves.


See, I said it wasn't a recipe but served with a good chilled wine (courtesy of the father-in-laws wine club) it was a lovely, quick meal. In fact it was quicker than finding the takeaway menu. I know, I tried!

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Roses are red...

...more like purple!   I have had these little things on my Pinterest board for ages now.
                                                                      Source: via Lucy on Pinterest

So finally got round to making some.  The links from Pinterest go to a sweet little tutorial, which you can easily adapt to suit your yarn, size, or style.  I made small roses about 3" across.

I wanted a flower suitable to make into a brooch, so it had to feel chunky.  I used a lovely 90% merino wool 10% acrylic mix so that it is lovely and soft to touch.  I have hand stitched a brooch pin on to a piece of felt and then hand stitched that to the back. All with matching embroidery thread.

It was soooo easy that I made them it a few colours.  I think they make the perfect little gift for family members or friends!  Or you could stitch them to a bag or a headband.  I think I'm going to put a few in my soon to be opened Etsy shop!

Now I've finished marking all my new pupils test papers, I hope to get round to doing some more projects, probably for christmas presents. What are your plans for the rest of the week?  Feel free to leave me a message in the comments below!

Monday, 19 September 2011

Crochet Cowl and Mits

As I have said before, Autumn is my favourite season.  I love the colours and the weather.  I like it chilly but sunny!  Wrapping up in cozy knits is comforting, it's like snuggling up on the sofa with a duvet.  Seriously I can wear scarves and gloves all day, even indoors (particularly when I'm feeling grumpy)!

                                                                          Source: via Rosa on Pinterest

I learnt to crochet about 6 months ago, and I LOVE it!  Crocheting is so relaxing. I think  it is because it works up quick too, that I like.  I always like to see a project finished in one sitting.  It stresses me out when it's left for more than a day.  That's why knitting has taken a back seat.  Crocheting is also easy to put down.  With little ones around when you have to leave it, you can, and only have to pick up one stitch if its come unravelled.

                                                                               Source: via Lucy on Pinterest

The wool I have used for this project I have had since I bought it in the January sales this year.  It's Rowan Classic Yarns, baby alpaca DK, cherry red.  It's soooo soft.  Everytime I have gone past it sitting on my shelf I have to touch it! I am so glad I have finally got round to making something for me in it, (is it just me or does anyone else give away the best stuff they have made!). I have the same yarn in blue and and green, but decided to go with the red as my autumn inspiration.  Lots of the leaves have already turned red in my garden!

I found the pattern for the fingerless gloves here, on ravelry.  Its a simple shell pattern.  The gloves only used up 1 ball of yarn so I decided to try and come up with my own pattern using the shell repeat stitch used in the gloves.  I crocheted (is this a word?) the cowl in the round so that there were no seams to join.  It pulls easily over my head, and like the gloves it is extremely soft.

This set will be my 'go to' set for work, to wear with smart dresses and boots.  Bring on the chilly weather!
Thank you to Rachel from Stitched in Color for organising the Celebrate Color event.  It was the motivation I needed to show some of my projects!  Must think of something for next months entry!

Celebrate Color

Celebrate Color entry - nearly there!

Ok, lets just say that I am really excited!  I have been following lots of craft blogs for just over a year now and been totally inspired by them.  Not just by the tutorials and ideas, but by the women behind them.  I was on maternity leave when I first started (what is the correct word for following others blogs almost daily? stalking sounds too strong!) Anyway, my husband bought me an iPad and it was so easy to sit with baby and read about what others were doing.  I then got a sewing machine and it went from there.  Sewing, knitting, crocheting.  I got hooked and still am.  I have always thought of myself as being scientifically minded  (as a Science teacher, this is a plus point) so it was easy to learn new techniques.  What I didn't expect was that I would start to become more creative, more at ease with my own ideas, more confident to give new things a try and go with the flow.

                                                                      Source: via Rebecca on Pinterest

So why am I really excited? Well, 2 of my most favourite blogs and inspirational women, Mollie from Wild Olive and Shannon from luvinthemommyhood are promoting Celebrate color with Rachel from Stitched in Color.   Rachel's blog is full of wonderful projects, photos and ideas.  Another blog to add to the favourites list!  Celebrate colour is not only a chance to enter a project and win some gorgeous prizes, but the chance for a community to get together and share their inspiration for Autumn/Fall projects.

So tomorrow, hopefully, I will be entering my first link up ever!  It sounds strange, but I'm actually nervous about linking up to what I would say are well known blogs.  However, it seems like fate. I started this blog at the end of August with the intention of putting myself 'out there' into the community (if you'll have me!) and this event came along.  One thing that I have learnt from my experiences this year is that I am not alone in juggling with kids, and jobs, and life.  I also know that it's ok if I make mistakes, along as I don't drop one!

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Spiced Plum sauce.

I have mentioned in a previous post that my husband makes a lovely Spiced plum sauce/jam depending what you use it for.  I particularly like it with duck.  Sometimes he adds in whole cherries to make it extra special.  At this time of year I could eat it with anything, cheese, meats, breads.  I have even served it with ice cream for a quick 'grown-up' dessert for guests!

Anyway, I have finally pinned him down and got him to write down the recipe for me.  He's one those people who doesn't follow recipes and just bungs stuff in, so this is not very accurate.  So don't be afraid to just change things to suit your taste.

Spiced plum sauce.

2 lbs of ripe plums, stoned and halved
1/2 cup af caster sugar
1/2 cup of demerara sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp allspice
1 dried bay leaf
A scattering of whole cloves
2 tbsp of water
Optional - Whole cherries, dried orange segments

Put all the ingredients into an ovenproof dish.  No need to cover.  Bake in the oven at 200c for 20-30 minutes until the plums have broken down and are soft.
Transfer to a sterilised jar and leave to cool.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Posh on Toast! - Duck

I had been looking forward to making and eating this meal all week! It's kind of a cheat really, because it's out of a tin. But it is gooood! My mouth is actually watering as I am writing this.
Confit of Duck, basically duck breasts soaked in duck fat in a can. When you cook them the meat just breaks apart and is soooo tasty because of all the fat, eeeek!  Friends of ours introduced us to it when we went camping.  They used the fat to fry potatoes in.  Really good camping food!  It was in a camping recipe book they had, I'm sure it was called Duck hash, I will have to borrow it from them again sometime.
Anyway, this is what we did (I was putting the baby to bed, so technically it was the husband!):

Confit De Canard, with bruschetta, and plum and cherry sauce.

Empty the contents of the can into a roasting dish and place in a hot oven for approximately 20 minutes. I actually took the breasts out and kept the left over fat in the can.  This could be used to for cooking something else in. Like roast potatoes!  You can cook the duck for longer if you like it all depends on how crispy you want the skin.

Toast the bruschetta just after the duck is ready so its still warm. Using a fork tear the duck meat to pieces and place on top of the bruschetta.

Serve with Plum and cherry sauce, or orange slices, or both.  Enjoy!

After a short time this is what you will have.  And yes, those are finger marks on the plate, no apologies!

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Babies galore!

I have been busy making gifts for 3 new additions to our family.  My husband has 3 cousins that live in France, and 2 of them have both had babies this summer! So I have been busy crocheting some little hats for them.  One had a little boy and the other twin girls. The twins were over 3 months premature and were born by emergency caesarean in late July, but are now both home doing well.

It was nice to be able to make some gifts for girls.  I decided to use this fantastic pattern from the lovely Anneliese's site Aesthetic Nest. She has 3 sweet little girls and makes some adorable stuff.

For the boy baby I made a cute little earflap hat!

Now to finish my Celebrate Colour entry!

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Boots, boots, Lovely boots!

I have been seeing lots of gorgeous brown leather boots all over Pinterest, ready for the new season.
Source: via Lucy on Pinterest

                                                                                                            Source: via Lucy on Pinterest

                                                                                     Source: None via Lucy on Pinterest

                                                                      Source: via Lucy on Pinterest

Last year I was so annoyed that I didn't get any, so I just HAD to have some for this Autumn/Winter.  I know that I will wear them with everything. Skinny jeans, leggings and a long top, dresses, skirts, the lot! ( the husband says, I better had!)  So here they are!

Another thing ticked of my Pinterest boards!

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Posh on Toast

Both my Husband and I work full time.  With three kids things can be pretty hectic!  We like to get organised each weekend and plan our meals before we shop (we are both teachers so like to organise everything!).   We both like to cook but the logistics of our evenings mean things have to be easy and quick. Often by the end of the week we have beans or egg on toast, which to me is a child's nursery tea and more often or not leaves us grumpy! (the kids love it though!).

So we came up with the idea of having something more grown up and flavoursome, but still on toast.  We called it 'Posh on Toast'!  So here is the first instalment;

Cannellini beans with Pancetta and Thyme.

This recipe was adapted from Homemade by Tana Ramsay.
It is actually supposed to be the side dish to Roast pork loin, but we loved it on our toasted chunky bread!

1tbsp Olive oil
200g/7oz piece of pancetta diced (I used pre diced pancetta from Waitrose)
2 x 400g tins of cannelleni beans, drained through a sieve and then rinsed
15g pack fresh thyme, leaves only ( I found out we had some in our garden so I just used a small handful )
1/2 chicken stock cube. dissolved in 300ml/1/2 pint boiling water
salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oil in pan and add the pancetta, fry it until the pancetta starts to crisps and the oil runs out of it.

Add the cannellini beans and thyme to the pancetta and mix together.

Pour in the stock and bring to the boil on a medium heat.  (at this point it looks like beans in water, but don't panic..)

Take 3 to 4 spoonfuls of the mixture and mash roughly in a bowl.  stir back into the pan.  (this release the starches from the beans and makes the sauce thicker!)

Season to taste and serve on freshly toasted crusty bread with wine of your choice!

Tuesday, 6 September 2011


So this weekend I started my new challenge, to do the things on my Pinterest boards.

                                                                   Source: via Lucy on Pinterest

I decided that I would try to make one of those balloon lampshades made with string. Mainly because I had bought some red string months ago, meaning to make it!  I kind of followed the instructions that I'd seen around, but here are my hints and tips...

First you need to gather your supplies: You need a large balloon, some string, coloured is preferable, and some glue.  I managed to fish out some PVA glue which I watered down. ( apparently that makes modpodge? )

Blow up your balloon but try not to let your children steal it and pop it in the garden.  Blow up another balloon if they did and you have one.

Cut your string into pieces and dip it in the glue.  Then place the string over the balloon. When you realise that you can't stand the balloon up on anything and you have to pull the chicken out of the oven and have glue all over your hands, ask a willing 7 year old to hold the balloon steady for you.  You may wish to get the 15 year old away from the PS3 to collect a loo roll tube from the bathroom.  Just ignore the grunts.  Sellotape the cardboard tube to the bottom of the balloon whilst praying that it doesn't pop it.  Put the chicken in the oven and put on an apron as you may have already got glue on your new top.

Lastly, when all the string is dangling down and not sticking on the balloon.  Shout at your volunteer for trying to play with his cars instead of helping.  This will make him wiggle the balloon, thus making it fall into the glue.  At this point when your Husband arrives asking what on earth you are 'trying' to do, give up!

P.S It is usually best not to get the boy to pop the balloon with some scissors as the glue from the string will fly all over your kitchen. (but you probably already know that, right?)

Friday, 2 September 2011

Pinterest oh sweet pinterest...

Oh, I know that you have all heard Pinterest. And that you too are hooked!  I used to try to scribble down all the sites that I had seen ideas of things to make etc in little notebooks, but since Pinterest has come along I don't need to bother searching for where the tutorial for this was or that was.  However I have now found that I spend more time on Pinterest oohing and aaarring and repining than I do actually making anything!

                                                                    Source: via Lucy on Pinterest

                                                                              Source: via Lucy on Pinterest

                                                                         Source: via Lucy on Pinterest

Look, I even found some sweet graphics to show what I mean!  So after spending more time this week on Pinterest than at my sewing machine, I have decided to challenge myself to do what I wanted to use Pinterest for. The inspiration to make stuff!  Each week I will make sure that I do or make or cook at least 1 thing that I have pinned on my boards.  So there, I've said it. So now I will have to do it! eeeek!

mmmm... must just browse my boards to see what I must make. (he he he!)

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Celebrate Colour!

It's the 1st of September, which is always New Year for me.  I am a Secondary School teacher, so along with getting my kids prepped and ready to start the new term I do too.  New shoes? check New uniform? check (nice navy wool dress from TK Maxx - Bargin!).  New pens and pencils?  mmm not yet but Wild Olive's pencil wraps may be just what i'm looking for to smarten up my old ones!

Anyway, I am also excited because it will soon be Autumn, which is my favourite season.  The colours, the smells, the anticipation of the holidays.  It is usually the most hectic time so I am so glad that Rachel from Stitched in Colour is running a Celebrate Colour series.  It will ensure that I focus on making stuff ready for presents etc and not just sit in front of the TV watching films, drinking spiced hot chocolate when the kids are in bed - although that does sound tempting!

Celebrate Color
I can't actually believe how soon those Autumn colours are coming around here.  Our summer has been the coldest for 20 years or so the papers say. The leaves are changing from green to reds and browns already.  My blog header picture is from our back garden so you can see the colours.

My favourite Autumn colour has to be purple or plum as some call it - that reminds me I must show you my hubby's spiced plum jam, it's like Autumn in a jar mmmmmm!
When we went camping last weekend I found my inspiration for the season.  The heather on the top of the Long Mynd looked amazing!

I know I have some Rico Creative Cotton in purple lying around somewhere. now all I need to do is think about what to make!